18AC/EOM/ADCOM/PreC/GCDO19AC/PRE/19AC to GTN
144-19G RECOMMENDATIONS RESULTING FROM THE 2018 ANNUAL COUNCIL COMPLIANCE ACTION
The Seventh-day Adventist Church is a worldwide body of believers united through the Holy Spirit in Christ’s love with a divine mandate to share the gospel in the setting of the Three Angel’s Messages to “every nation, kindred, tongue and people” (Revelation 14:6). Writing to the Corinthians, the apostle Paul declares that “there are many members but one body” and adds in his epistle to the Ephesians that in Christ “the whole body is fitly joined and knit together” (1 Corinthians 12:20, Ephesians 4:16). Church organization is one of the factors that fosters the unity of a multifaceted, diverse world Church. Since what affects one part of the body affects the whole, adherence to the voted actions of the world Church is the responsibility of all leaders. The recommendations in this document are presented in the spirit of Christian love with the intent to respect the voted actions of both the General Conference in session and subsequent Annual Council actions.
In light of their responsibility to these voted actions of the world Church, on June 6, 2019, the General Conference administration sent a letter to certain division presidents requesting they follow up with perceived non-compliant entities within their territory regarding plans they may have to come into compliance with voted policies and actions of the General Conference Executive Committee. The recipients were requested to provide their reports and recommendations to the General Conference Secretary by August 22, 2019. Pursuant to that correspondence, no satisfactory response as to major progress was received from the reporting entities listed below.
Because of misinformation about the ADCOM-appointed Compliance Review committees, the General Conference Administrative Committee took an action to “use the normal administrative process generally used for receiving recommendations,” which is implicit in the 2018 Annual Council action since the General Conference Administrative Committee “may” (or may not) use the Compliance Review committees.
The document entitled “Regard for and Practice of General Conference Session and General Conference Executive Committee Actions,” voted at the 2018 Annual Council, provided for a process based on Christ-centered biblical principles to be followed in situations where non-compliance was determined to exist. Based on that document, in matters where non-compliance continued unresolved, inevitable consequences would ensue. Those consequences included “warnings” and “public reprimands.” As a result of the ongoing non-compliance with the 1990 General Conference Session vote not approving the ordination of women to the gospel ministry, the subsequent 1995 decision (denying a request for each division to be granted authority to authorize the ordination of individuals in their territory), the 2015 General Conference Session decision (denying the right of division executive committees to make provision in their territories for the ordination of women to the gospel ministry) regarding the practice of ordination, the use of credentials according to Working Policy, and the lack of appropriate achievement of compliance, the following is being recommended:
- The following entities have taken actions that are not in harmony with Working Policy and practices on credentials:
a. Danish Union of Churches Conference (TED)
b. North German Union Conference (EUD)
c. Norwegian Union Conference (TED)
d. Swedish Union of Churches Conference (TED)
VOTED, That the above entities be “Warned” as provided for in the 2018 Annual Council voted document.
2. The following entities have taken actions that are not in harmony with voted actions of the General Conference Session and the General Conference Executive Committee:
- Columbia Union Conference (NAD)
- Pacific Union Conference (NAD)
VOTED, That the above entities be “Warned.”
It is further noted that each of the named non-compliant entities have the opportunity to appeal this action through processes already provided for in the 2018 Annual Council document and General Conference Working Policy. In the event that entities that have been “warned” or their president “reprimanded” take actions that bring their entities into compliance with the policies and practices of the Church as defined by the General Conference Constitution and Bylaws, the General Conference Working Policy, and voted actions of the General Conference Executive Committee and/or General Conference Session, recommendation will be made to the General Conference Administrative Committee that these entities or their president be reinstated to regular standing by the General Conference Executive Committee.
Redemptive discipline is never easy and often painful. When one part of the body hurts, we all hurt with it as we “bear one another’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2). Christ’s mandate is to “love one another” as members of the family of God in response to His limitless, sacrificial love for us (1 John 4:7, Ephesians 2:14-21). Our love for one another and Christ’s Church leads us to respect our differences while at the same time adhering to Annual Council actions and those of the General Conference in session. These recommendations are made in the spirit of Christian love to preserve as far as possible the unity of the Church for its end time mission.